Remembering John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell

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Remembering John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell

Written: 12/08/2010


Today is a significant day to mourn the loss of two great musicians, both murdered by guns and gone too soon.
 
The first---definitely one of the greatest songwriters/performers and activists of his or any generation----is John Lennon.
 
The purpose of this blog is not simply to recount facts but to share personal stories.
 
Much has been written about the Beatlemania era of the Beatles.  Back before the worlds of Google and Twitter, these four “mop top” musicians came to America in 1963 and their music changed the face of the world in what seemed like seconds.
 
My mother was a graduate student at University of Connecticut --- she studied British Literature --- and was one of the multitude that owned the Beatles’ second United States album Meet the Beatles.  It is the one with the silhouetted faces and claimed to be the first of the band’s albums in America.  The story goes that my mother and her friends played the record so much that they wore it out.  I can only imagine the hysteria while my mother and friends listened to songs like  “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “All My Loving.”
 
From 1962 to 1970 The Beatles recorded a multitude of hit songs and sold millions of records. Then it all came to an end and the band members pursued solo careers.
 
I believe John is my favorite Beatle/solo artists and one of my favorite artists in the history of music.
 
His voice through his career could be soothing, playful while at the same time having the ability to shriek and moan.  One of my favorite words in the English language is timbre, which means the color or character of a sound.  John had amazing vocal timbre.  His songwriting covered subjects such as love, defiance, contemplation and calls to action.
 
Of John’s solo songs I have many favorites:  “Mother,”  “Mind Games,” “Isolation,” “Gimme Some Truth” and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)’.
 
One of my least favorite songs?  “Imagine.”
 
Lyrically “Imagine” is complete revolution:  imagining a world without religions, possessions and a world filled with brotherhood.  Interestingly though, the music of “Imagine” is somber and delicate, almost mourning, so it is a complete contradiction in that sense, much like the man who wrote it.
 
If you read this blog you know I have discussed Bono, one of the greatest singer/songwriter/musicians ever in music whose heart and passion is undeniable.  He gave an interview to Rolling Stone’s editor/publisher Jann S. Wenner that was a cover story and a fantastic podcast series that is available on iTunes.
 
I was fascinated by what Bono had to say about “Imagine” written by a man who Bono admired very much ---- as much for his activism as his music.
 
From the interview:
 
“That ‘60s thing is really not where I am coming from….I’m into the gnarliness. I don’t want everyone to hold hands and change the world through wishful thinking…”
 
Also:
 
“That’s why ‘Imagine’ is my least favorite John Lennon song….how people have turned that song into a new age hymn…I’m not into imagining.  I’m not into dreaming.  I don’t like ‘I have a dream.’  I like ‘I have a plan.’”
 
Couldn’t have expressed it any better myself.
 
Lastly about John, I will never forget the first time I was in New York and went down with my friend Todd to Strawberry Fields.  I don’t know what subway stop it is, but we got off the subway, walked up the stairs and there was the Dakota entrance where John was shot.  I wept.  
 
To some it is hard to explain such a deep emotional connection to someone you never met ---- someone I was only on the same earth with for a year and three-and-a-half months.  But yet I feel that connection with John Lennon.  
 
Miss you John.
 
 
Six years ago today the world lost another great musician to a crazed fan.  Dimebag Darrell --- lead guitarist of Pantera and Damageplan ---- was gunned down onstage by a “Pantera fan” that was angry that Dimebag broke the band up or that he claimed Darrell stole songs from him.
 
The incident occurred at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.  Dimebag was shot six times and the murderer not only killed Darrell but four others.
 
I must admit I am not a metal fan although I casually knew the music Dimebag performed.  He always seemed like a nice giving person in interviews and he was following his dreams.  Pantera and Damageplan brought much enjoyment to fans.
 
The most shocking thing about this incident was that Dimebag was on stage when he was murdered --- getting ready to perform a set for fans.
 
I remember being very shocked by the incident --- as someone who not only respected Dimebag for his music but also as a fellow performer.  
 
Lastly I think it is quite unfortunate that more news outlets and bloggers fail to remember Dimebag’s murder today.  
 
We miss you Dimebag.

-John